Los Angeles Times

Long before a woman hits middle age, she and her doctor should be thinking about her risk of stroke and taking steps to reduce it, according to the first set of stroke guidelines aimed at women.

The overall stroke risk for women is higher than it is for men, in part because women live longer. But the new guidelines from the American Heart Association emphasize that many other factors may increase their risk as well, and many of them are evident when a woman is in her 20s and 30s.

Some, like complications of pregnancy and menopause, are unique to women. Other risk factors — including obesity, migraine with aura, atrial fibrillation and depression — are more common in women than in men.